Choosing the Right Dog Pack

Choosing the Right Dog Pack

Summer is the season for backpacking, camping, and long days on the trail. If your furry trail companion is ready to carry their own gear and you’re wondering which pack to choose, we can help.

We’ve covered some dog backpack basics, then we dig deeper into each of our packs by their key features and the types of adventures for which they’re designed. Take a look, and start dreaming about where the trails will take you next.

How much weight can my dog carry in their backpack?

A good rule of thumb to start with keeping total carrying weight (including the pack and its contents) under 25% of your dog’s body weight.

Fitness and breed will affect how much your dog can carry. First-time pack-wearers or senior dogs may want to go lighter. Puppies are encouraged to wait until they're fully grown before carrying any weight. An empty backpack is a great way to get them used to wearing a pack if they're too young to be carrying weight.

How do I get my dog used to wearing a pack?

Try having your dog wear their pack on walks and short hikes. It’ll give both of you the chance to get to know the pack and its features. Plus, you can dial in the fit. Start with an empty pack, then work up to carrying some weight.

Lots of praise, treats, and fun while the pack is on go a long way when a dog is warming up to a pack. 

Palisades Pack

Ruffwear’s Palisades Pack is designed for thru-hiking and multiple days on the trail.

It has a larger capacity than our other packs (Exception: The L/XL Palisades Pack and the L/XL Approach Pack have the same capacity), as well as removable saddlebags and two 1-liter collapsible water bladders. Inside the saddlebags, there’s a cross-load compression system that cinches down and stabilizes pack contents. If you’re hitting the trail for more than a couple nights, this is the pack we’d recommend for your dog.

Palisades™ Pack on dog backpacking with human behind.

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Approach Pack

Our Approach Pack is a great option for long day hikes or light overnight backcountry trips.

The saddle bags have smaller capacity than those on the Palisades Pack, but size small is still large enough to hold a Highlands Bed. Radial cut weight-forward saddlebags create a passive compression system that is form-fitting and efficient for carrying a load. If you’d like your trail pal to carry his/her own gear on a day outing or one-to-two night backpacking trip, the Approach Pack will do the trick.

Woman backpacks with her dog using approach pack.

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Front Range™ Day Pack

With plenty of internal organization and trail-minded details, this comfortable day pack equips dogs to carry the day's provisions on hikes and frontcountry pursuits.

The Front Range Day Pack incorporates Ruffwear's signature radial cut saddlebags with the customer-favorite Front Range® Harness platform, making it an everyday pack staple in any dog's gear closet. Dogs can help shoulder the load thanks to the integrated padded harness and belly strap that adjust for exceptional fit and pack stability.

The saddlebag geometry creates a passive compression system that is formfitting and supports efficient load carrying. There are three leash attachment options: a V-ring and a tow loop on the back, and a reinforced webbing loop on the chest – great for redirecting dogs that pull when on leash.

Hector hikes along creek with dog Canyon in front range day pack.

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Singletrak Pack

Ruffwear’s Singletrak Pack is a sleek, low-profile hydration pack that’s perfect for long days on the trail with just the essentials.

The saddlebags fit close to the body, allowing dogs to move with speed and agility, and hold two 0.6-liter collapsible water bladders with enough room left for some treats, pick-up bags, and a small leash. The Singletrak Pack is great for day hikes, trail running, and mountain biking.

Dog in Singletrak™ Hydration Pack runs along trail at the base of red rocks.

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Do you have questions or feedback about our packs or any other Ruffwear gear? Let us know.